Prawn Curry with Darkened Cinnamon (An˘duru kurun˘du saman˘ga issan kariya)
A beautifully spiced, coconut milk-based curry, complete with toasted cinnamon and popped mustard seeds.
Excerpted from On the Curry Trail: Chasing the Flavor That Seduced the World by Raghavan Iyer. Illustration by Neethi (@Kneethee). Workman Publishing © 2023.
3 sticks cinnamon
2 tsp Madras Curry Powder
6 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 slices fresh ginger (each about the size of a quarter), finely chopped
1 pound large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined, but tails left on
2 Tbsp coconut or canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh curry leaves
2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Prawn Curry with Darkened Cinnamon
Prawn Curry with Darkened Cinnamon
Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot (holding your palm close to the base, you should feel the heat within 5 seconds), break up the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces (for an even toast) and throw them in the skillet. Toast, stirring the pieces constantly, or shaking the skillet very often, until they darken further and smell incredibly fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer them to a spice grinder (or clean coffee grinder), and allow the pieces to cool, about 5 minutes. Pulverize the cinnamon to the texture of finely ground black pepper.
Combine the cinnamon, curry powder, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl; add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the mustard seeds, cover, and cook until the seeds have stopped popping, about 30 seconds. Immediately add the shrimp in a single layer, and sear them for about 30 seconds on each side.
Shake the coconut milk well and pour it in. Add the curry leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the curry to a boil and continue to cook until the shrimp curl and turn salmon in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a serving platter. Keep warm.
Continue to cook the sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and serve.
Award-winning author and instructor Raghavan Iyer explores the origin of curry across the globe with 50 recipes in this illustrated cookbook about the simmering, scrumptious history and lore of a globally beloved dish.
On the Curry Trail is an enlightening journey across Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas to explore the origins of curry and the signature, essential curries of each region. This diaspora of curry brings alive not only the most iconic, category-defining recipes from these continents, but also the history, lore, anecdotes, and familial remembrances that fashion each dish. It delves into the story of curry—what it was and what it is, the places to which it has traveled and the ways it has evolved en route (whether because of local ingredients, cultural tastes, or other factors)—and embraces the many interpretations and definitions of this beloved dish. It makes the flavors of these scintillating curries accessible to the everyday home cook. On the Curry Trail is at once a mash note and an education—one rich in history and sense of place—that tells the definitive, delectable story of this beguiling dish in 50 irresistible recipes. Illustrations throughout.
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